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ANSI Delegation to China and Japan Fortifies International Outreach Efforts

New York, Dec 20, 2002

An American National Standards Institute (ANSI) delegation, organized by the Institute's Regional Standing Committee on Asia-Pacific (RSC-AP), recently returned from a visit to standards bodies in Beijing, China and Tokyo, Japan. Meetings with other national standards bodies are an important element of ANSI's international outreach efforts as set forth in the U.S. National Standards Strategy (NSS), emphasizing the necessity of upholding the benefits of a decentralized system, which promotes U.S. technologies, standards and processes.

Beijing, China

This was the second visit to China by an ANSI delegation; in April 2001, members of the RSC-AP and ANSI International Committee presented the benefits of a decentralized standards and conformity assessment system as a model for China to follow in preparation for the nation’s historic accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Occurring just before the first anniversary of China’s entry into the WTO, the November delegation took the opportunity to address the progress China has made in promoting openness and transparency in the standards development process during their efforts to reorganize their system.

The visit included a meeting with members of the State Administration of Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) where the major changes of the standardization and conformity assessment structure in China were outlined. One of AQSIQ’s major missions is to assist in the establishment of the “socialist market” and the movement towards economic globalization prior to China’s entry into the WTO. AQSIQ will develop policy for conducting trade under the WTO and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) requirements. To help with implementation of standards and conformity assessment issues, the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) and the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) were created under AQSIQ.

The delegation held successful meetings with CNCA, the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), which regulates telecom and IT industry, and SAC, where there was discussion regarding what steps have been taken to ensure openness and transparency in their technical committees. ANSI and SAC also achieved a renewed Agreement on Cooperation concerning matters covering international standards, cooperation to eliminate technical barriers to trade, and the mutual exchange of information and publications between the respective organizations. Finally, ANSI and SAC also discussed ways in which enhanced partnership between the U.S. and China in the international standardization arena will promote their interests in ISO activities.

Tokyo, Japan

During meetings with the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) and the Japanese Standards Association (JSA) in Tokyo, ANSI presented the “National Conformity Assessment Principles for the United States” document, which was well received. JISC commented that Japan has a very similar concept of conformity assessment policies, based on the avoidance of unnecessary barriers to trade. ANSI and JISC also came to an understanding of their respective positions and status concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR) in ISO.

ANSI delegates achieved a greater understanding of JSA’s close cooperative relationship with JISC and industry, and their mission to carry out the development of international standards that are market relevant and accepted by all countries. Additionally, the ANSI delegation had the opportunity to respond to questions regarding the goals of 2003 ISO president-elect (and outgoing ANSI chairman) Mr. Oliver R. Smoot, the ANSI position on market relevance, and the definition of an international standard. An ongoing dialogue will be fostered between American and Japanese standards bodies to promote understanding as other issues arise.

Upon return from the meetings, Gary Kushnier, ANSI vice president of international policy remarked, “All parties felt that the series of meetings was a great success and that future cooperation is a priority.”

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